Helping a Nervous Dog Shine

Just like people, dogs all have their own personalities. Some dogs are goofy and silly, others are sweet and calm, and some are furry little whirlwinds. And while some of our canine pals are fearless, others can be quite shy. If your pup falls into the latter category, you may want to take some steps to help Fido come out of his shell. Below, a Greensboro, NC vet offers tips for helping a nervous dog shine.

Winning Trust

Pay lots of attention to Fido, and play with him daily, but don’t overwhelm him. To help your furry friend feel safe and secure, talk to him in a calm, gentle voice, and offer him lots of yummy treats. Never force cuddles on a shy dog: let Fido come to you when he wants attention. We also recommend giving your pooch a comfy crate, so he has a cozy den of his own.


Sometimes dogs are frightened of specific types of people, such as men, for instance. Desensitization can be very helpful in these cases. If Fido is scared of men, have a male feed him and walk him. If your canine companion is frightened of other dogs, host a puppy party: invite people with gentle, friendly dogs over to play. Just be sure to supervise closely, and end the party if any of your furry guests seem uneasy. Also, make sure all of your pet’s buddies are current on their vaccines and parasite control.


A long walk or a fun play session will burn off Fido’s nervous energy, leaving you with a calmer pooch. Since your pup’s exact exercise needs will depend on his age, weight, breed, and health, ask your vet for specific recommendations.


Training can be a great boost to a bashful dog’s confidence. Just as getting a good grade or learning a new skill can help a timid child feel more self-assured, learning new commands can improve Fido’s self-esteem. Agility training can also be great for nervous dogs.

Positive Reinforcement

While we always recommend using training methods that focus on positive reinforcement, this is particularly crucial with anxious dogs. Never yell at or punish Fido for doing something wrong. Instead, focus on rewarding him with treats and praise for doing well.

Contact us, your Greensboro, NC animal hospital, for all your shy dog’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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